Jessica Chastain has constant fears she’ll lose her career because she’s a feminist

Madrid photocall for 'Molly's Game'

Jessica Chastain has used her social media and her profile as an actress to speak about sexual harassment, Harvey Weinstein and women’s issues for a while now. She is considered an “outspoken” actress, although I read enough of her interviews and her tweets and her comments generally come across – TO ME – as very normal and average-political stuff. I mean, she considers herself a feminist and intersectional ally. She says a lot of stuff to support victims and encourage more conversation. She’s not calling for mass castrations, nor is she trying to call for a Lysistrata in America. My point is that I don’t really consider Chastain to be controversial in the least, but as I’ve seen time and time again, people do get their knickers in a twist when a mainstream white actress makes garden-variety feminist statements in the public sphere. Chastain knows that too, which is why she told the New York Times that she was surprised that there hasn’t been a bigger backlash against her personally (except for the dude who told her to “calm down”).

On her Globe nomination for Molly’s Game: “To be honest, I’m mainly surprised about my nomination. As an actor, I have a lot of fear, thinking that if I speak my mind, or something that feels like it deviates from the norm as a woman, am I going to be made to disappear in my industry?”

Telling her own #MeToo stories on social media: “I’ve got a good group of girlfriends on WhatsApp, and I said, ‘I’m really terrified I’m destroying my career right now. I wonder if people will still see me as an actress, and want to work with knowing I have these opinions.’ In the way that only good girlfriends can do, they helped me eliminate fear and understand that the only way to change something that’s wrong is to change it, not ignore it. And rather than saying it’s an industry-wide issue, it’s more than that. It’s a society-wide issue. We can’t ignore farmworkers or women who have been invisible.”

A dream of a new society: “We’ve been since birth in a society that makes us feel like we’re easily replaceable, that we need to be grateful for any work, and grateful for what we have. But what that does is it limit our acknowledgment of the power we have, especially when we work together. It’s like what Margaret Mead said. ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.’ And that’s what we’re doing.”

[From the NYT via E! News]

I would scoff and roll my eyes at Chastain’s concerns that she’s ruining her career, but really… her career might suffer because she’s making very vanilla-feminist statements on Twitter. I truly believe that it will take more than the #MeToo stories for Hollywood to fundamentally change, and until then, many of the outspoken women are going to be “punished” in various ways. Much of it won’t be as notable as a well-known actor telling Chastain to “calm down.” Most of it will be unanswered calls, refusals to allow certain actresses audition, the continuing inability to take women seriously as directors or producers and a lot more.

'Molly's Game' - Photocall

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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22 Responses to “Jessica Chastain has constant fears she’ll lose her career because she’s a feminist”

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  1. Nicole says:

    Its a valid fear for sure

    • Jussie says:

      Especially as she actually calls out specific people, films, studio’s etc. rather than just sub-tweeting about things.

      She’ll have definitely made some enemies that way.

      • Shijel says:

        She’s always been paranoid about her career. Apparently she’s described as genuine and as sweet as a dream, but extremely nervous about her career.

        She called out Singer on twitter despite being in one of Singer’s productions. Doing that will earn you a reputation of a troublemaker fast regardless of the actual impact.

        In an industry that relies so much on silence and having rotten details on others as blackmail to ensure their silence, even Jessica’s white feminism can be too much for the HW power players.

      • Sara says:

        She didn’t name the “high-profile actor” who told her to calm down about feminism, etc.

  2. Lucy says:

    She should worry it’s because she’s an awful actress.

    • Neelyo says:

      I don’t know if she’s bad per se, but she does lack much impact. I do think she was miscast in THE HELP and not every effective in CRIMSON PEAK but otherwise she’s just sort of ‘meh’. I still mix her up with Bryce Dallas Howard.

    • Nic919 says:

      She’s good in Molly’s Game. I saw it at TIFF and it’s a great role for her.

    • NayNay says:

      Agreed. I don’t thinks she’s good at all. I’m still trying to find out what the fascination about her is.

  3. Lucy says:

    Can’t fault her, to be honest. I just hope that fear doesn’t refrain her from speaking out against sexism and supporting victims.

  4. A says:

    Chastain does not champion intersectionality. Far from it. She’s like every other white feminist that expect POC to support them blindly only to be left behind when they don’t need them anymore.

    • Izzie the other says:

      I agree. And I am sick and tired of Hollywood feminists only championing for other rich and upper middle class white women. The tone deafness in their speaking is infuriating. It seems like Angelina Jolie is the only rich white woman who knows that feminism extends outside of Hollywood.

      As someone who has been sexually harassed, the metoo movement makes me proud, but the work does not end there. Celebrities that want to take up this cause need to have some perspective. I had to work with the man who put his hand under my dress at a work function because I simply was not in a position to be without a job. That is the situation for a lot of women and that needs to be acknowledged.

  5. Erinn says:

    I’ve never seen a preview and thought “oh, Jessica Chastain is in that – I should see it”. I appreciate that she calls people out, but she’s not someone that is a pull for me to see a movie. There aren’t many actors that are, honestly. But depending on who she calls out, I can completely see that impacting her career. But on the flip-side, the people she chooses to support and causes she draws attention to can also impact her career – in a positive way.

  6. Nic919 says:

    I worked in a toxic environment where I was branded a radical feminist (which was viewed as a bad thing) because I would comment on the hypocrisy of incompetent or mediocre guys getting access to clients over all the female lawyers. I didn’t think I was being that radical because I was only looking for equal treatment. But I was at an old boys club and any woman who was not a submissive doormat was viewed harshly, not only by some of the male lawyers, but the female office manager who would then spread gossip and was complicit in the sexist behaviour. Most women ended up leaving after a few years because they knew they never had a chance at improving their careers because of that mindset. The ones who have stayed still don’t have the same access to clients as male lawyers significantly junior to them.

    So I understand where she is coming from. Speaking up, even a little bit, usually comes at a price.

  7. QueenB says:

    Since her alt left nonsense I take her a lot less seriously.

  8. S says:

    Get off the cross, no one cares.

  9. JA says:

    I say this as a huge Jessica fan but come on. She’s a attractive white woman, who will continue to work even if There’s drawback. Now if she were a female minority spouting off, well then I’d pray for her. A female minority who didnt fit into the mold [not movie star pretty or thin] then yea, her career would be done. Sad but true, white and pretty will save her career.

  10. Hikaru says:

    The thing with female liberation not working despite so many women calling themselves feminists these days is just that – feminism has become a cool new label to claim while fighting for everybody else’s issues while putting sexism last. We are groomed to take care of all other minorities, solve all male issues and deal with male identity crisis, become vegans, and maybe at the end of the day when we have no more energy left to do anything – remember that feminism is actually about female liberation from patriarchy as its one and only goal.

    Gay men didn’t fall into this trap while fighting for same sex marriage because as males they are socialized to prioritize themselves first but us women we are always everything else first and female last.

  11. lucy2 says:

    Nobody’s perfect, but I do appreciate that she’s stuck her neck out a few times and been willing to speak up. As a woman speaking her mind, yeah, she probably does have cause for concern, as any woman doing so would in pretty much any industry.
    I think she’s probably established and privileged enough that she’ll always have work, but I could see certain male executives shying away from a woman they see as “trouble” because she won’t play along and be quiet.

  12. Jennifer says:

    She annoys me.

  13. Taxi says:

    She’s the only one who cares what she says. She’s very bland & never opens her mouth until others have done it for a while. Hardly a trailblazer.